How Effective is Your Workout?
I know we lead such busy lives that the most fought over commodity is our time. Your time. So this week I wanted to write you about how to maximize the effectiveness of your workout so you can make the most of yours. (and maybe have some free time for yourself!)
Maximizing your time during your workouts, is the best way to, as the cliche goes, to “work smarter not harder”. So it’s worth stepping back and assessing what your workouts look like to determine whether you really are working smarter.
When you look at the effectiveness of your workout, I want you to ask yourself three questions:
What do I want to improve?
Am I training to improve those things?
How effective are the exercises in improving those things?
Let’s look at the first question: What do you want to improve? (Lose weight, lose fat, tone up, get stronger, be faster, etc.) On a scale of 1-5, rate how effective your workout regimen trains each of these parameters:
While your goal may be specific enough to only need to improve a few on this list, if you want to lose fat and improve your tone, you need to improve pretty much all of these (although some of them might not be obvious).
As the founder of CrossFit Greg Glassman points out, “You’re as good as your weakest link.” The parameters you scored the lowest on are the ones that will most effectively improve your overall fitness. You want to make sure your workout regimen includes those parameters!
If coordination is your worst score, finding an agility ladder workout will help with not only with coordination, but your balance, speed, agility and ultimately help you tone up and lose weight as you become more efficient.
If you don’t have a specific training goal, I recommend improving all of the ten above listed parameters.That list is broad and comprehensive, the first four covering purely physical changes, the last four addressing neurological changes and two (speed and power) that focus on both. Each of them will bring you closer to a fitter, more toned – you.
Answering the second question: “Am I training these things?” will point out deficiencies in your current workout regimen.
For example, if you want to improve speed but don’t have any sprints in your training, you won’t improve your speed. Seems obvious, but if sprints aren’t your thing, you’ll resist adding these to your program.
The same is true for building strength. If you weight train at the traditional 3 sets of 8-12 per exercise, you will gain some moderate strength, but you really need to train in sets of 6 reps or less to see measurable strength improvement. If your workout program does not include this, you won’t see a real difference.
Which leads to the last question: “How effective are the exercises in improving those things?” If we are trying to maximize your time, you need to make the most of each exercise.
If time is our precious commodity, it would be wasteful of us to go around a weight circuit, only working one muscle group at a time. Not only that, but isolating muscles groups have little to no practical application toward improving health and functional fitness.
Performing a power clean by picking up a barbell from the ground and placing it on your shoulders will be much more effective at strengthening you to pick your child off the ground than performing bicep curls.
Finding exercises that work the multiple muscles groups will multiply your time and condense your workouts AND give you the practical application your looking for.
You can reduce an hour’s worth of training to 20min if you work smart. And get the same result, if not better in some cases, than what you would if you spent the hour working out.
Each week I work with dozens of adults figuring out the best program for them. In the most effective way. If an exercise works 8 out of 10 parameters we’re talking about, I will choose it everyday over an exercise that works two.
Sometimes the workout only needs to be 5 min long. Any longer and you aren’t effectively training the right energy response to change speed or power, or both!
Answers to these questions aren’t too hard to find, it’s the execution part that’s tricky. We like the same things and in the same way, and we like being comfortable. In order to have a good broad base of variety and effectiveness you have to do the opposite.
You need to try new things and make yourself uncomfortable. This is tough. Especially on your own. That’s why we do it in small groups. It helps a lot!
I encourage you this week to take a step back and consider what you are working out for.
Maximize your time by identifying what you want to train, training your weaker things first and finding exercises that make the most of your time.
p.s. Know what you want but not sure how to get there? That’s where we come in. We give you step by step instruction on what to do next. With all the ideas, diet advice and newest form of exercise, it can be overwhelming. You don’t need more ideas and ways. You just need the next step for you. Click here if you’d like to set up a free consultation.
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